Open Crowd festivals

I’ve blogged before on Churches linking together and running an ‘Open Crowd festival’ in and for the community. Fusion are working with the Churches in Wheatley (Oxfordshire) to run one on April 25th! Willing volunteers would be welcome, plus it’s a good chance to find out more ……
Contact Guy

Ski Talks 2

The ski trip loometh and I’m having fun praying, scribbling and thinking about the talks. I’ve put together some stuff on ‘mountains’ for short reflective pieces (based on the comments when I first blogged this) but the talks themselves are still a bit elusive.
I was struck by the idea of ‘community’ that was also suggested (thanks) and have been reflecting on this and looking at spirituality, new monastacism and culture. I’m wondering about speaking about spiritual disciplines BUT in a way that feels encouraging not loading or guilt-inducing. But how?
I’ve also been playing with the idea of Christianity being counter-intuitive, ‘love your neighbour,’ not being controlled by ‘the flesh’ etc etc. Linked to this I’ve also been reflecting on the conundrums and contradictions of the Christian Faith, eg (thinking out loud here) that Christianity is about surrender and effort, blessing and suffering.
So, what do you think of these ideas?
Can you think of other conundrums and contradictions that are held in tension within the faith?
Have you any useful links?
Thanks, I don’t know what I’d do without you 🙂

Creating Spiritual spaces for children and young people

Day conference on may 21st, details here. Looks like an interesting discussion to be part of especially around a definition of what spirituality in this conversation is.

“The conference brings together social workers, teachers, early years, play and youth workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, religious leaders and policy officers to discuss how to make schools, homes, youth clubs, places of worship and neighbourhoods more supportive of children and young people’s emotional and mental well-being”

but who is playing me?

For reasons that I’m sure made sense at the time of agreeing, the Macdonald family are being filmed tomorrow as part of a project to do with the families of disabled children. I asked if Keanu Reeves could play me, to which at least two people have suggested that Griff Rhys Jones would be more appropriate!!

H is happy to particpate as long as his name appears in the credits, I’m expecting that he’ll start negotiating the merchandising rights next 🙂

Sony Ericsson W715

715.jpgI have a new phone! It’s snappily entitled the W715 and is I think the result of a bunch of electronics engineers having rather too many drinks after work one evening leading to a beer fuelled boast about how many gizmos could physically be incorporated in one phone.

The W715 has:

Bluetooth, Wireless, WAP and USB Connectivity. It has a music player, radio, diary, games, GPS, Sat Nav, Google Maps, e-mail, web, a 3.2 mega pixel camera, text messaging, remote control function and even a health-check footstep counter! It has 4 gig of storage, the music player can list tracks by mood as well as genre, you can change tracks by a quick shake of the phone. It handles RSS feeds, the video app’ is compatible with Youtube, you can record a few seconds of a song and send it off to find out the Artist and the track!
And so the list goes on! (And the obvious gag that the battery only lasts 5 minutes as a result is so not true!)

Anyway, serious W715 review:

It’s a slider phone with a conventional phone key layout. It’s small stylish and fun, with a humungously long list of features and capabilities, which on the whole it does well.
If you are used to Sony’s then it’s easy to pick up and use, the camera and the screen clarity are particularly impressive. I like the GPS capability and may even consider paying the additional Sat-Nav subscription.
1. The wi-fi capability is, in my experience, not easily used, the web browser seeming to want to use the vodafone front page via the data connection. (You have to wait for an error message then input the web address you want via Options).
2. Despite the Walkman status, the sound seems tinny to me (but this is subjective and I await other opinions)
3. The Lock/unlock function doesn’t seem great and the phone easily becomes unlocked with functions becoming activated.
Overall, a positive thumbs up BUT having to mess around to get the web browser to connect via wi-fi is frustrating!

Social Networking with Digital Natives

timdavies.jpgI had a coffee with Youth particpation and social media Guru, Tim Davies, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Oxford Diocese are running a day for Communications Directors around ‘new media and opportunities’ and Tim is leading a session exploring engaging with young people …. hence the preliminary chat.
We were talking about boundaries around Social Networking with young people and how should/shouldn’t engagement work. I’m keen that if youth workers do have the young people as ‘friends’ then that fact should be written into letters/programmes for parents. Tim pointed me to an excellent bit of practice though where a youth worker he knows, in addition sends a note to the young person reminding them of their ‘friends’ status and laying out what that means, including a reminder that the youth worker will now see stuff they post on their profile. I thought this was good practice!
We also chatted about young people not always being aware of what was private and what was public, as well as citing other examples of where young people are highly proficient but not always savvy. Tim quoted me an excllent phrase that I think is a great summary of young people as ‘digital natives.’ The phrase he used was that they are (often) ‘fluent not literate.’
We also had a chat about young people seeing SN as their space, was the presence of a youth worker an invasion of privacy? Tim pointed me to the site of Tom Gasken who uses SN to engage with young people but is very keen to embody the principles of ‘voluntary participation’ with the young peson having the choice to not be involved.
He also pointed that as in the physical world, the presence of responsible adults makes spaces safer!

Not on a roll

In terms of Outdoor ed’ I’m qualified in a few areas but have never progressed beyond happy-paddler at Kayaking. This is because whenever I’ve been Kayaking with youth groups it’s always been about the basics of control … and having fun. This has been an entirely good thing however it means that I’ve not learnt rescue techniques, rolls and the like … although I am a competent paddler.
Last night I had the opportunity to join Adventure Plus at one of their Pool sessions and get some tuition.
In a bizarre bit of double booking the Pool had given permission for the Scouts to use the pool to swim in, as well as the kayakers to kayak in! Thus we only had half the pool which was hilarious ……….. a kind of aquatic traffic jam ensued at times.
k roll.jpgThe Adventure Plus crew were fab though and I had a great time as well as learning a lot. Sadly though, the Eskimo roll COMPLETELY elluded me.
It didn’t help that I am somewhat un-lithe and found it extremely difficult to exit the kayak when it went pear shaped (the boats were MUCH smaller than mine), but even allowing for this fact …. I was rubbish! I found it extremely difficult to work out what the paddle should be doing while I was busy being upside down under a Kayak, how to do the necessary sweep stroke and even which way I was actually trying to roll. Hilarious.
This is pretty much what I looked like, this is what I aspire to.
Conclusion: I’m more suited to Arctic Rolls than Eskimo Rolls 🙂

Captains Log Supplemental:
The tricky thing about the roll is that it requires you to act counter intuitively, got me thinking about aspects of our faith …. he says in a Radio 4 ‘thought for the day’ stylee